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The Literary Form and Liturgical Background of Psalm Lxxxix

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image of Vetus Testamentum

Ps. lxxxix is in many ways the most interesting and important of the royal psalms. Taken as a whole it is a lamentation (vss. 39-52) over the frustration of God's promises to the Davidic dynasty (vss. 20-38), which were made possible by his cosmic sovereignty (6-15). The first part of the psalm recalls the hymns of Yahweh's enthronement (xlvii, xciii, xcv-c), the second, the oracle of Nathan (2 Sam. vii; Ps. cxxxii), and the third, the individual lamentations of the Psalter. This complexity of form and content has led most commentators to divide the psalm into two or three originally separate poems, and to interpret their significance more or less independently of each other. It is the aim of the present study to demonstrate the formal integrity of the psalm as it appears in the Psalter, and to discover, if possible, its original liturgical setting.

Affiliations: 1: Dallas


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